July 10th, 2017 | Sterling

Background Screening Policy Considerations in the United Kingdom

Background screening was not something that I gave any thought to until I started working at Sterling. Sure, I had heard of companies doing it, but thought of it more in relation to executives, the financial industry or classified government work and not for employees like me. But since working here, as I have learned more about the employee background screening industry, I have learned there is much more to it than just a simple background check. Background screening is one of the many components to make sure a company hires the best candidate for the job.

With the variety of privacy, employment and anti-discrimination laws in the UK, it is highly important to have a consistent and compliant background screening policy for your company. A background screening policy can be a company’s first and best response to a complaint for an employment dispute. Having a process in place to request, receive and evaluate background checks will allow you to better defend your screening programme.

There are many things to contemplate when putting together a background screening policy for your company from deciding the purpose to making sure your program is compliant with national, global and sector-specific laws. Below are just a few of the items which you need to consider in an organization’s background screening program:

  • What is your purpose and scope of the background screening programme?
  • Who in the company has the authority and is responsible for running the background screening programme?
  • At what point in the hiring process will the background check be requested?
  • Does your company have information stating the legitimate interest (or other legal ground) for conducting background checks, in accordance with data protection law?
  • Is there a process in place to protect the privacy and confidentiality of information that is included in background screening forms and reports?
  • Is there a policy detailing how long (and why) the company will retain background check results including legal obligations for the process?
  • Is there documentation on rescreening practices including who is being rescreened and how often?

If you can answer the questions above, then you are well on the way to creating a compliant employee background screening policy for your organisation. For more detail on the steps to creating this policy, download our Background Screening Policy Considerations in the UK Checklist.

Sterling is not a law firm and any materials or opinions presented are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Please consult with your legal counsel to obtain advice with respect to your particular situation.

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This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.